Trying to understand your furnace can be a complicated endeavor. There are lots of parts, pieces, and terms to know, each with their own purpose and value. This can make the process of maintaining your home’s heating system less than enjoyable, as it opens the door for confusion and a sense of feeling absolutely overwhelmed.
If you’re sick of hearing all of the industry jargon and not knowing what’s being said, here are six terms you should definitely start learning.
AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is used to convey how efficient a furnace is. It measures this through how much heat a unit produces for every volume of fuel it consumes per year. It uses a rating system that indicates this efficiency through a percentage score, with the higher the number meaning a more efficient furnace. AFUE is important because it can affect how much you spend on your heating bill; the higher the rating, the less money you’ll need to spend to keep your home warm.
The heat exchanger is a thin metal component-oriented between the blower and combustion chamber of your furnace, which works to distribute heated air from it through to air ducts and the living spaces of your home. The heat exchanger must be totally sealed in order to function normally and prevent gasses from leaking. It’s thus an essential point of interest when it comes to your furnace and its maintenance.
While it functions similarly to a gas furnace, an electric furnace uses electricity to heat the air of your home. The main difference between it and a gas furnace is how it heats the air, with an electric unit using coils to transfer heat rather than fuel combustion.
The term electric resistance refers to the process of heating a coil to warm up the space around it. This is the main method by which electric furnaces generate heat.
The ignition is what starts the heating process in furnaces and allows them to operate. In the case of electronic ignitions, this function is carried out through the use of electricity. It uses a process of high-voltage sparks that jump between two electrodes in order to start the fuel-burning process.
Pilot lights work to perform the same function as electronic ignition systems, yet in a different way. Rather than using electricity to start the heating process, pilot lights work as small burners that ignite the rest of the system through combustion when needed. Pilot lights are a more outdated piece of technology in home heating, and will most often be absent from modern systems.
While there’s a lot to know about furnaces, what they do and how they work, understanding them can be a quite simple process with the right application and effort. Given how complicated they can get, this once again serves as a friendly reminder to always consult a professional when in doubt about managing any issues with your furnace.